Spring Term

What are the expectations for student, faculty, and staff interactions on campus?

The Carleton Community Covenant—which all students, faculty, and staff who are living, learning or working on campus are required to sign—establishes clear behavior expectations for those on campus.

Which supplies will the college supply? What must my department/office provide?

The college will supply reusable masks for each faculty and staff member, and each student; disposable masks for campus visitors; hand sanitizing stations at each building entrance; sanitizing spray and wipes; and uniform signage for all spaces on campus. These supplies will be made available before the start of the term. Departments and offices may request other supplies through this form.

If I’m an employee who is working both on campus and remotely, how can I ensure I have all my office equipment/supplies at both my remote work location and my on-campus workspace?  

You may find taking home additional equipment or supplies will facilitate your remote work. Some items that people have found helpful to take home include their office chair, monitor, keyboard, mouse, wrist rests, footstools, notebooks, and other office supplies. Before removing items from campus, complete the equipment checkout form and review and follow data management guidelines. If you have taken your desktop computer home, contact ITS to request another device for your on-campus workspace. You should leave your desk chair where you will spend the majority of your time. If that is at home, we will find another chair for your on-campus workspace.

Do we need to have furniture moved in our areas?

Possibly. The Return to Campus Operations Team is available to walk through your space and assess your needs. To arrange for a visit from this team, email covid@carleton.edu.

What does Carleton need in order to fully reopen its campus?

We are taking guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and our public health contacts, as well as evaluating the current situation on campus in order to make determinations about future operations.

How is Carleton working with the broader Northfield community in formulating its plans?

We have engaged with the City of Northfield and St. Olaf College throughout the planning process. We are also in regular communication with the Northfield Hospital.

How do I ensure my campus work area and materials are properly sanitized? Can Custodial Services offer cleaning products or extra support?

The Return to Campus Operations Team is working diligently to supply the entire campus with the supplies they need to work safely. Learn what we have and how you can request additional supplies.

Testing & Contact Tracing

What is Carleton’s surveillance testing plan for Spring Term, and who is eligible to be tested?

We have continued our Winter Term surveillance testing regimen to test 600 individuals per week. This represents nearly 30% of our on-campus population of students, faculty, and staff. The tests are administered by Homeland Health and analyzed by a lab at the University of Minnesota, with results available within 24 hours.

As of May 4, students, faculty and staff who have submitted documentation showing that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer in the pool for weekly surveillance testing on campus. We are continuing to conduct surveillance testing on 600 members of our community each week, acknowledging that this number will decrease as more people become fully vaccinated.

Why is the college recommending that I install the COVIDaware MN app on my phone?

The College is recommending that students, faculty, and staff install the COVIDaware MN app on their phones to help create a safer community at Carleton. If you choose to install this tool, the app will notify you if you have been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Likewise, if you test positive, the app anonymously notifies anyone you’ve been within six feet of for 15 minutes or more during your infectious period. 

Widespread use of the COVIDAware MN app would provide an extra layer of information about potential exposure for those traveling back to campus or who travel off campus during the term. It may also prove helpful for contact tracing in situations where one’s ability to judge distances or recall how long a specific interaction lasted is not particularly accurate.  

COVIDaware does not collect any personal information or track your location. The app was made available by the State of Minnesota, in partnership with PathCheck Foundation. It uses your phone’s Bluetooth signal to exchange anonymous tokens through exposure notification technology developed by Apple and Google. You can learn more about COVIDaware MN online, and download it from the Google Play or Apple App Store.   

If I’ve already had and recovered from COVID-19, do I need to be tested again?

If you have received a positive COVID-19 test, please share that information with the college using this form. Once your test timing and result have been verified, you will be removed from the surveillance testing pool for 90 days.

I’m concerned I may be a close contact of a positive case. How do I reach the contact tracing team?

If at any time you believe you are a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19 on campus, please call the contact tracing team at (507) 222-5119.

Who is defined as a “close contact” for contact tracing?

We use the CDC’s definition of a close contact, which is any individual who has spent 15 cumulative minutes or more over the course of 24 hours within 6 feet of the infected person. All unvaccinated close contacts of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be contacted and quarantined. For students living in townhouses or interest houses, all unvaccinated residents of the house will be quarantined in the event of one resident’s positive test.

A close contact also may be someone who had direct physical contact with a positive case, shared eating or drinking utensils with a positive case, provided care in the same residence to someone who is sick with COVID-19, or who had direct contact with infected respiratory droplets through sneezing or coughing. Because campus spaces like classrooms and dining halls have been set up with physical distancing in place, we don’t expect full classrooms to require quarantine in the event of an illness.

If at any time you believe you are a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19 on campus, please call the contact tracing team at (507) 222-5119.

What type of COVID-19 test is being administered on campus?

For return-to-campus and surveillance testing, we are using a PCR test, which is administered via nasal swab by a health care professional. We also have access to rapid tests and saliva tests, which we use to meet other testing needs.


What happens if someone on campus gets diagnosed with COVID-19?

When a member of our campus community tests positive for COVID-19, we work with the Minnesota Department of Health to carry out tracing for close contacts both on and off campus. Affected students follow quarantine and isolation protocols within campus residences that have been reserved for this purpose. Students in quarantine or isolation have a designated case manager, receive meals in their residence, take their classes online, and have their health and wellbeing actively monitored by a member of our professional Student Health and Counseling staff. Those living in townhomes and interest houses are considered family units and will quarantine together in the event that a house member is exposed to COVID-19. Affected faculty and staff follow quarantine and isolation protocols at home.

If you have been told of a Carleton community member case of COVID-19 and are concerned about possible exposure, please consult the MDH website, call Security at (507) 222-4444 or submit a Community Concern form.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever (100.4° F or higher) or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. 

What should I do if I suspect I have COVID-19?

You should remain at home, fill out the daily symptom tracker and contact your healthcare provider. Your healthcare professional will work with the Minnesota Department of Health to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Even if you don’t suspect coronavirus, particularly now, you should stay home if you have a cough, sore throat or fever. Report the illness and subsequent absence to your direct supervisor.

What is the difference between physical distancing, self-quarantine and self-isolation?

Physical distancing is the act of limiting your interactions with others. It includes not shaking hands, avoiding crowds, standing 6 feet from others, working remotely when possible, and staying home if you feel sick.

Self-quarantine is for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. You should self-quarantine if you have been in contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19.

Self-isolation is for people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been confirmed to have the virus. During self-isolation, you should stay home, avoid contact with others, and closely monitor your health.

If I’ve been sick, when can I stop self-isolating?

If you have been sick with respiratory symptoms or fever, you should self-isolate for 10 days after the onset of your illness. You can stop self-isolating after that 10-day period as long as you have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of medication) and your symptoms have improved.

Where can I find more resources?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health are the most up-to-date sources of information on the coronavirus outbreak.

Work Expectations

Do I need to tell the College that I’ve been vaccinated?

Yes. Faculty, staff, and students who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 should complete the COVID Vaccine Documentation form to notify the College of their vaccination. You should do this after receiving your first dose. Once you complete the form, someone will be in touch with you to request that you submit documentation to verify the information you submit. Please be prepared to email a scan/image of your vaccination card.

Do I need to wear a mask when I’m on campus?

Yes. All faculty, staff, students and visitors on campus are required to wear a mask that covers both their nose and mouth at all times while in the presence of others or while in indoor public spacesMasks are required to be worn in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing of six feet or greater cannot be maintained. 

When in private spaces (offices, etc.) or spending time outdoors, you may remove your mask if physical distancing of greater than six feet can be maintained. You should put your mask back on when you leave the office for any purpose or if you come into close contact (less than six feet) with other people in your office. When outdoors, you should have a mask with you at all times, with the expectation that you put it on when you come into close contact with other people and prior to entering any building.

Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step everyone can take to reduce their risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Masks work best when everyone wears them, but not all masks provide the same protection. How well a mask fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has are all important to consider when choosing which mask to wear. The CDC offers tips on improving the fit and filtration of your mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Masks should be cloth and must not feature a vent. Neck gaiters and bandanas are not considered acceptable mask options. You should keep your face masks laundered and clean.

Employees, including student workers, may obtain a mask by visiting the Office of Human Resources, located in Strong House, or emailing hr@carleton.edu.

If, for medical reasons, you cannot wear a mask, please contact Human Resources. 

Why is the seasonal influenza vaccination required this year?

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic with an influenza outbreak on Carleton’s campus could place the community’s health and safety at risk, decrease the likelihood that the 2021 academic year is completed in-person, and stress local medical resources.

As an additional measure to help keep our community safe, all students and employees who will be on-campus during the 2021 academic year are required to receive a seasonal flu vaccine by Oct. 1, 2020. We held on-campus vaccination clinics during the month of September. Employees received their vaccination elsewhere can upload proof of their vaccination using the Employer Notification of Influenza Vaccination form. Employees may receive any FDA-approved, licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine (IIV, RIV4, or LAIV4) with no preference for any one vaccine over another. This includes both the flu shot and mist.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommend that everyone over the age of 6 months receive a seasonal flu vaccine every year.

Employees can use the Accommodation Request Form to request a medical or religious accommodation regarding the seasonal influenza vaccination requirement.

Additional information regarding flu vaccines:

CDC- Seasonal Flu Shot

CDC- Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines

MDH- Influenza

Mayo Clinic- Flu Shot: Your best bet for avoiding influenza

Where can I find the daily symptom tracker?

Visit https://go.carleton.edu/mySHAC to locate the daily symptom tracker. Please follow these instructions to accurately fill out the daily symptom tracker.

Can a face shield substitute for a face mask?

No; the CDC does not recommend face shields as a substitute for face masks because they don’t protect others from the respiratory droplets of the wearer as well as masks do. A face shield can be worn in addition to a face mask, as added protection for your eyes. At Carleton, we chose to purchase dust-tight wrap-around safety glasses for those who would like additional eye protection. Safety glasses are easier to see through and easier to transport than face shields. Please contact covid@carleton.edu if you or your students need additional eye protection.

Does Carleton offer any options for me to reduce my scheduled hours?

Yes. Carleton has introduced a temporary Voluntary Furlough and FTE Reductions program to provide employees flexibility in their work schedules while keeping benefits in place. The Program also benefits the College’s financial position during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Applications received will be reviewed by Human Resources and the employee’s supervisor and divisional vice president. Although there are no guarantees, we will make every attempt to approve requests. See more information on the Voluntary Furlough / FTE Reduction FAQ.

What is considered a “common space” where I must wear a mask?

Common spaces on campus include spaces that are not private offices or residential living quarters. Examples include academic department offices, Sayles Great Space, Anderson Hall’s Daugherty Atrium, the Weitz Center Commons, Gould Library, and Skinner Chapel.

How do I practice physical distancing while at work?

Physical distancing is a powerful public health tool. Departments should be working to implement several physical distancing strategies, such as:

  • Staff rotation: For offices that require an on-campus presence, we recommend staggering in-office and remote staff so those on campus can keep a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others. This will reduce the number of employees on campus and help limit potential exposure for those who must report to campus.
  • Essential meetings: Plan to use remote tools, such as Zoom or Google Meet, in place of in-person meetings.
  • State guidelines: While on campus, be aware of and practice strategies from the Minnesota Department of Health to slow the spread of COVID-19.

How long should I expect to work remotely?

Staff are returning to campus in phases. If you are unsure which group you are in, please contact Human Resources.

What are the communications expectations for remote workers?

As outlined in the Remote Work Agreement, employees working remotely are expected to:   

  • Notify manger and coworkers of any temporary change in the posted remote work schedule
  • Be available to manager and coworkers by telephone and email during core hours
  • Return calls and emails in a timely manner
  • Fulfill required communication (such as daily contact) with manager
  • Forward office calls to the remote site
  • Meet additional expectations which may be set by supervisors

Where can I find tips and tools for working remotely?

Both ITS and Human Resources have tips, tools, best practices, and professional development resources on working remotely. New information is regularly added.

Are there any considerations for new employees?

New employees are expected to follow the same steps as current employees regarding COVID-19 precautions. Human Resources will share this information with new employees before they arrive to campus.


Do I need to use VPN while working remotely?

Yes, in all cases. VPN is Carleton’s secure way of effectively “wrapping” your off-campus network connection in a Carleton blanket, so to speak. It encrypts your network traffic, which protects all Carleton data and login credentials no matter where you are. There is a short installation process, and after that you simply turn it on or off.

When you are using the VPN, your computer is essentially on the Carleton network, much as if you were in your office. It is an easy-to-use solution that will give you, among other things, access to your network drives and library database resources. You can also use it to provide security when using non-secure networks, such as WiFi at home, in coffee shops, or libraries.

How do I print when I’m working remotely?

Printers are too delicate to be moved easily.  If you need to print from home, you can either send the job to a person in your office who is working on campus and have them print it for you, or you can print remotely using Webprint.

Will I be compensated for using my home internet while working remotely?

No. Employees are responsible for providing internet service at the remote work location.

I don’t have a home phone. Do I need to forward office calls to my cell phone?

It is expected that office calls will be forwarded to the remote site. If you don’t have a home phone, you should forward calls to your cell phone. Calls only need to be forwarded during regular office hours.

What if I don’t want people to have my personal cell phone number?

You are not required to share your personal cell phone number with callers. Callers should be directed to dial your office number. When returning calls using your personal phone, you can dial *67 prior to dialing the number to block caller ID. If needed, you can work a few hours each day from the office to return calls.

Illness & Time Off

Is the coronavirus screening covered by health insurance?

For those covered by Carleton’s health insurance plan, the coronavirus screening test will be covered at no out-of-pocket-cost for all employees and dependents. If you have other coverage, please contact your provider.

Testing at Carleton is free for all eligible employees.

If I am self-quarantined due to risk of COVID-19, how do I report my time away from work?

Employees who suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19 must stay home, practice physical distancing, and closely monitor their health. Employees may be able to work remotely during this time. Regular, benefits-eligible employees can use accrue leaves (sick, vacation, floating holidays) to cover any missed work hours. We ask employees to report their self-quarantine using the symptom tracker.

If I become ill with COVID-19, how do I report my time away from work?

Employees who become ill with COVID-19 must stay home. Employees may be able to work remotely during this time, depending on the severity of their symptoms. There is no expectation of work while ill. Regular, benefits-eligible employees can use accrue leaves (sick, vacation, floating holidays) to cover any missed work hours. We ask employees to report their COVID-19 illness using the symptom tracker.

Employees should report their COVID-19 related absence following the regular procedures for reporting standard sick time.

What if I need to care for a sick relative with COVID-19 symptoms?

Employees should stay home if a household member has developed symptoms of COVID-19. Employees may be able to work remotely during this time. Due to the proximity, the employee should assume they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and monitor their own symptoms. Regular, benefits-eligible employees can use accrue leaves (sick, vacation, floating holidays) to cover any missed work hours related to their own or a household member’s COVID-19 quarantine or illness.

What if schools are closed or I do not have childcare for another reason related to COVID-19?

Temporarily, some employees will be allowed work remotely while caring for their children. If remote work is not feasible, employees can use accrued vacation or floating holidays to care for their children if they lose childcare for a reason directly related to COVID-19. This includes absences due to K-12 school closings. Additionally, some employees may be able to adjust their work hours or take a temporary leave of absence. Please contact Human Resources for additional information.

My childcare situation has changed. What do I need to know about my Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account?

With a number of childcare closings, you may be unable to spend FSA funds as initially intended. While there is no new or altered IRS guidance related to changes in FSA regulations as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to modify your pre-tax election to support your needs at this time. Examples include:

  • Suspend your election: If your daycare has closed and is not billing you for services, you may consider suspending your election. Should you choose to do this, you may re-elect once your daycare services resume.
  • Modify your election:
    • You may increase or decrease your election if your daycare provider has adjusted their fee schedule during this time.
    • If a child is switched from a paid provider to “free care” (i.e. neighbor or relative) or no care. An election change should be permissible whenever there is a change in provider.
  • Add an election: Should your family needs require that you seek new provider services that have a cost, you may add an election. For example, you could consider hiring a babysitter to care for your children while you are working in your home. This will qualify so long as the babysitter is over the age of 19 and is not your spouse, the parent of the child, or anyone you can claim as a dependent on your tax returns.

Please visit optumbank.com for the latest developments and up-to-date information on regulation changes related to health care spending and savings accounts.

What considerations are being made for staff who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19?

Whenever possible, employees with documented high-risk health conditions will be given the opportunity to work from home temporarily. For those who cannot perform their work from home, Human Resources will work with them and their supervisors to evaluate the request and explore accommodations. Employees can request an accommodation using this form.

What can I do to minimize the risk of spreading illness?

  • Stay at home if you are sick (with any illness, but especially if you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever, etc.);
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands;
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Where can I go for additional support?

We recognize this can be a very stressful time. The Employee Assistance Program is available to all employees by calling 1-866-326-7194 or visiting hpeap.com and entering “Carleton College.”

Travel, Meetings & Visitors

Why is Carleton prohibiting visitors on campus, including those who are vaccinated?

Despite state and national progress in vaccinating the populations most vulnerable to COVID-19, Carleton’s policy continues that visitors are not permitted on campus, including those who are vaccinated. This restriction will continue through commencement.

With the threat of more contagious variants of the virus circulating, as well as inequitable access to the vaccine across the country and around the world, we simply don’t know that it is safe to invite guests to campus at this time. While a single event with just one or two outside visitors may seem safe, risk increases as the number of visitors multiplies. Additionally, our students are not being vaccinated at the same rate as other on-campus populations, and the Minnesota Department of Health has specifically excluded those without underlying health conditions or specific work assignments from vaccine priority. Despite the recent vaccination clinics on campus, our ongoing receipt of vaccines is uncertain.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, circumstances are changing rapidly, and we are closely watching the public health landscape to make decisions in the best interest of our campus community.

I have upcoming personal travel plans. Will I be allowed to return to work when I get back?

The State of Minnesota continues to urge people not to travel out of state. Carleton also urges employees to be judicious in making travel plans, and to try to avoid all nonessential personal travel. If you elect to travel out of state, please stay current with the evolving recommendations and guidance from the state and the CDC, and get tested for COVID-19 upon your return. Self-administered saliva tests are available for employees to pick up from Security Services as needed. All employees in groups 1 and 2 will continue to be tested for COVID-19 at the start of each term.

I canceled my Carleton-sponsored travel, and the airline gave me a voucher for another flight. Do I need to repay the college?

If a ticket credit is issued instead of a refund, you should use that credit for future College-approved travel. If you wish to use the credit for personal travel, you may do so and reimburse the College for the portion of the new ticket that was covered by the credit. The cardholder should document the credit on their credit card statement.

What considerations should be taken when organizing a department or small group meeting?

We recommend teleconferencing or video conferencing using Zoom or Google Hangouts in favor of in-person meetings. For sessions that do occur in person, meeting organizers should choose a space large enough to allow for social distancing of at least 6 feet between attendees.

May job candidates come to campus for interviews?

No, all interviews are being conducted virtually. Rare exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis by the divisional vice president, in consultation with Human Resources.

Is the College canceling all large events?

Yes. All large campus events have been canceled at this time. We strongly discourage groups of people where it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of approximately 6 feet.

Is the Office of Admissions still hosting campus visits and events?

The Office of Admissions has suspended all visit programs and visits to campus at this time. We are providing admitted students with other opportunities to experience Carleton.

Dining, Facilities & Other Services

How is the College addressing air quality inside campus buildings?

We have continued to study and optimize campus ventilation systems to maximize fresh air intake, install the highest quality filters that the systems will tolerate, and to supplement this with some stand-alone filtration units as well as bipolar ionization, which releases charged atoms that attach to and deactivate virus particles. Every air handler on campus has been cleaned and checked to ensure proper operation of the dampers and motors for air flow, as well as proper fitting of filters. We are also ensuring that campus spaces have access to fresh air either through a window or a central HVAC system. Additional information can be found in the Facilities Operation and Impact document on the Resources and Training page of this website.

What changes have been made to campus restrooms in light of COVID-19?

Campus restrooms are disinfected daily by custodial staff, and disinfecting wipes are available for individual use as needed. All restrooms have been evaluated to accommodate physical distancing, and modified occupancies will be posted as applicable. Additional information can be found on the Resources and Training page of this website.

What are the current dining options and hours?

Please visit the dining services website for updated dining hours. 

What is the College doing to limit the spread of germs in campus dining spaces?

Campus food handlers are specifically trained in proper safety and hygiene procedures. All Bon Appétit staff members completed special COVID-19 training and follow all federal and state-level regulations. Additionally:

  • All diners are required to wash or sanitize their hands before entering food service.
  • Pre-work temperature checks and a health survey are being done for all dining managers and employees.
  • All dining staff members are wearing masks and gloves during service periods, when in contact with students, and as their jobs safely allow.
  • All meals are available to go.
  • Staff are disinfecting throughout each meal period.
  • Staff are changing service utensils every 20 minutes.
  • There are limited self-service options in accordance with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health.
  • Seating arrangements in the dining hall have been adjusted to support physical-distancing guidelines.
  • All diners are invited to swipe their own card.

What changes have been made to building access?

Exterior doors on all campus buildings are locked. Faculty, staff and students will need to utilize their OneCard to gain access. Faculty and staff have 24/7 access to the building where their office is located. Students have 24/7 access to their residential hall or residence.